THOMAS BAINES 1852 entire written and signed by Thomas Baines in the Cape of Good Hope. Addressed to his brother in England, the contents refer to financial hardship and more importantly to him, a need for more paints to be provided. With a fine example of the Cape Town undated letter stamp GENERAL POST OFFICE / (crown) / CAPE TOWN oval struck in black (type ULS3). Backstamped with London (16 Nov) transit and Lynn (16 Nov, struck in blue) arrival datestamps. Various rate endorsements including ‘1/-’ in manuscript on the front. The entire somewhat reduced on one side otherwise a fine and rare letter from this eminent early visitor to the Victoria Falls.
Note: Baines wrote this letter at the time of the ‘Frontier Wars’ in the Eastern Cape, an event recorded in his paintings. In 1858 Baines joined Livingstone in an expedition to the Zambezi, but left the party following a dispute and returned to Cape Town. The visit of Prince Alfred in 1860 provided Baines with the resources to join James Chapman’s 1861-62 expedition down the Zambezi. The journey took them from Cape Town to Walvis Bay by sea, by ox-wagon across the desert, then via Lake Ngami, taking l6 months to reach the Zambezi - on 23rd July, 1862.
Thomas Baines was the first artist to look upon and portray the grandeur of the Victoria Falls and produced a large folio of the Victoria Falls ‘on the spot’. The striking beauty of his canvases have enjoyed sustained popularity ever since. These were published in 1865 as a book which included 11 chromolithographs and 8 pages of descriptive text by the artist. These magnificent paintings gave the outside world their first pictorial impression of Darkest Africa’s great scenic secret.
Thomas Baines was born at King's Lynn in l820. He was a prolific painter though was equally well known as an explorer, cartographer, diarist and scientific observer of fauna and flora. He spent most of his adult life in southern Africa.